Singapore Airlines (SQ8) First Class Singapore to Los Angeles makes a 2 hour stop in Seoul. This is a continuation of the review of Singapore Airlines 8 Singapore to Seoul First Class. The ground time is just long enough to be annoying. The Singapore Airlines lounge in Seoul is nothing exciting, but does provide for a place to stretch one’s leg and refresh. If you are feeling thirsty or peckish you can eat or do as I did and shower and then meander around the beautiful terminal below. The shower felt fantastic after sleeping for a few hours on a warm and dry plane. Yet otherwise, after the ground stop, the plane is cleaned and restocked and boarding commenced on scheduled.
First Class Boarding
Boarding the plane was slightly different than in Singapore. In Seoul, all passenger screening is done before entering the terminal, whereas in Singapore each gate has individual security screening. In addition, in Seoul, First and Business class passengers board through the right door, whereas economy class board through the door left of the gate agent. I love this design as it prevents crowding of the gate area. I wish more airports were design for efficiency.
Boarding was uneventful. First, Business Class, and elite flyers all board at the same time. This did create a queue of about 50 people in the Business and First class line, but it was no issue for me. I will say it takes away from the First class ground game, by being lumped with the masses. Is First class that special on Singapore Airlines? Not in Seoul! There is zero special or unique ground service for First class passengers.
Once on board the plane, preflight services were similar to every other Singapore Airline flight. Singapore Girls provided menus, amenity kits, and Pajamas. As I was connecting from Singapore, the flight attendant working the forward cabin was informed that I received my amenity kit on my previous flight. New pajamas, eye masks, and slippers were offered, but a second Salvatore Ferragamo amenity kit was not. My preflight beverage of choice was served with a hot towel and refilled several times during the preflight process. The service was warm and welcoming, but once again nothing special. On many other airlines, including American Airlines, Cathay Pacific, Qantas, etc. preflight service includes some type of snack. Singapore Airline sticks to beverages and warm towels only.
First Class Inflight Services
After takeoff, Singapore Airlines legendary service was present throughout the flight. More hot towels then I could and extremely personalized service. With only one other customer sitting in First class, I had a flight attendant to myself. Lunch was offered and my drinks were never empty. Whether I was drinking $100+ bottles of champagne, wine, water, or coffee, I never once had to ask for a refill.
Meal service lasted approximately 1.5 hours, including scrumptious satay, soup, salad, an appetizer, and a main dish. Food was good, but not overly delicious. The book the cook lobster thermidor was buttery and extremely cheesy and honestly a bit too heavy for me. Yet then again, who am I to complain about lobster! It was not chewy and was flavorful, especially for airplane food! The satay was by far the highlight of the meal, whereas the soup was hardly mediocre. The exquisite dessert tickled my taste buds whereas the salad was just a typical green salad. After dinner, I was so full that I opted out of cheese and didn’t eat the desert till hours later. I couldn’t eat any more, and the idea of more cheese was not provoking.
After dinner, I opted to have a night cap with some high end whisky. With a whisky in hand, and my chair transformed into a bed, I made myself comfortable and prepared for sleep. After a few more drinks, I found myself sleeping and dreaming about sugarplum ferries and vacationing. It was a rude awakening when I woke up an hour before landing and realized the office was in my near future.
With an hour to go before descending on Los Angeles, it was time for breakfast. Once again, I had preordered my meal through Singapore Book the Cook service. And once again, the meal was just mediocre. The breakfast quiche resembled something from Starbucks and I regret not ordering the cook to order eggs. Lesson learned! As the plane hit turbulence, Singapore Airlines does not usually serve hot beverages. Thankfully, the flight attendant found a created workaround and poured my Blue Mountain coffee into a paper cup with a lid. This was fantastic as I was in need of a caffeine boost before landing in Los Angeles and going to work.
After breakfast, flight attendants jointly prepared the cabin for landing and before I knew it we were on the ground in Los Angeles. The ten-hour flight was over and it was time to wave goodbye to Singapore Airline. As I left the aircraft in Los Angeles the purser and Singapore Girls wished me a good day by name and thanked me for flying Singapore Airlines. It was off to battle customs. Thank god for Global Entry, as lines at LAX are notoriously long.
Landing In the States
Upon clearing custom, my bag never found its way to the baggage carousel. I had a feeling that my bag would not make it to LAX due to an extremely close connection in Singapore, and my gut feeling was correct. I found a Singapore representative and they told me to continue to wait until the last bag was delivered and then they would help me. As she was telling this, I noticed my name and ticket number on her clipboard under “delayed luggage”. After pointing this out to the representative, she then told me to clear custom and go to the lost luggage desk. Legendary service dies in the States.
At this point, I was extremely disappointed. I did not mind that my bag was missing, but Singapore Airlines could have handled this situation much better! They knew my bag was not on the flight. They could have contacted me in Seoul or upon landing in Los Angeles. Instead, I waited for nearly 45 minutes for a bag that was still in Singapore! Meanwhile the airline knew where my bag was and knew I was waiting. An overhead page, a note at the lounge in Seoul, or a message on the plane. Anything would have been better. The delayed bag saga is not over, and there is still a lot more drama to come as my bag ended up being delayed for several days and now I am fighting for reimbursement for essential items.
Singapore Airlines offers a good product that isn’t ground breaking but is solid. Singapore Airlines is not the world’s best first class nor does it have the best catering or hard product. Service provided by the staff on the plane is the best and is where Singapore Airlines shines. By customizing each flight and meeting a travelers need, Singapore Airlines service is truly world-class. Fight attendants fight the Christmas Tree effect of call lights by being in aisle and meeting needs before one has to ask. The long flight from Asia is a perfect way to overindulge in the luxurious life of flying First!
Singapore Airlines flight 8 from Singapore to Los Angeles via Seoul timing is not the best, but does offer an early enough arrival in Los Angeles. The early arrival provides time for an full day in the office. SQ 8 arrives at 6am whereas SQ 12 via Tokyo leaves Singapore in the mid-morning instead of 3am and arrives in LA closer to noon. If you are flying, Singapore Airlines do indulge yourself by better food and fly SQ 12. SQ 12 offers caviar per reports I have read! However, if you want to sleep and have a full day in LA upon landing, fly SQ 8! Singapore Airlines new service Singapore to Los Angeles via Seoul is nice, but feels watered down due to the late flight time form SIN and lunch service vs dinner.
I argue that Singapore Airlines First Class is overrated, and in terms of soft product and even hard product, SQ 8 represents exactly why I think Singapore Airlines First class is just mediocre. Regardless, the flight was great and I really enjoyed the Singapore Girls personal touch–no pun intended.